Palaces to visit in Seoul & around South Korea
Palaces in Seoul, South Korea
In Seoul there are five main palaces, which were built under the Joseon Dinasty. These are some of the few remnants of ancient architecture in Seoul, because most of it was destroyed during the Japanese occupation and most of the ancient buildings were mainly made of wood, so they burnt easily.
Changdeok Palace, Seoul
Changdeokgung, a fine example of Korean traditional architecture, is located in Seoul and is surrounded by a large park. It was built during the Joseon Dinasty (building started in 1405 and was completed in 1412); however, it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt several times, but always keeping faithful to the original design.
Changdeok Palace is also called the East Palace, because it is located east of another main Seoul palace, Kyonbokgung. The grounds of Changdeok Palace, in Seoul, is divided in three main areas: the public space, the king’s residence and the secret gardens that were reserved for women and for the royal family. The palace includes 13 buildings and 28 pavilions in the garden and the last Korean king lived in Changdeokgung until his death, in 1926, and this palace was declared part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.
Deoksugung Palace, Seoul
Deoksu Palace, in Seoul, is a compound of palaces surrounded by a wall. All the buildings are made of different materials and also in different styles, including western style. This Korean palace also includes in its grounds an art museum. Deoksugung was originally the residence of price Wolsan and it became a royal residence during the Seven Year War, when the Japanese burnt all the other palaces to the ground in 1592.
Kyongbokkung (Northern Palace), Seoul
Kyongbokkung is also called Northern Palace, because it is located in the northern part of Seoul, South Korea. Kyongbokkung was the main residence of the Joseon Dinasty and it was built in 1394, following the design of the Korean architect Jeong Do-jeon. As many Korean buildings in Seoul it was destroyed several times and it was rebuilt in the 1860s, to be destroyed again in 1911 by the Japanese, who left intact only 10 of its original 330 buildings. The palace complex includes the Gyeonghoreu pavilion, which is depicted on the 10,000 Won Korean note, and the National Folk Museum of Korea. At the entrance, guards in traditional costume perform regularly the change of the guard ceremony.
This palace, located in Seoul, South Korea, was originally the summer residence of the Goryeo Emperor and it later became one of the five Seoul palaces of the Joseon Dinasty. One unusual feature is the flower pattern on the roof’s ridge décor, which cannot be found on any other ridge.
This palace, located in the western part of Seoul, during the latter Joseon period used to be a secondary palace for the king. Secondary palaces were used by the royals during emergencies. Today there is not much left of the original palace and currently Gyeonghuingung front gate is being used as a gate for the Shilla Hotel’s main entrance.
Doseonsa Temple, Seoul
Other fine examples of historical architecture found in Korea are Buddhist temples. One of such temples is Doseonsa, in Seoul, also the largest Buddhist centre in Korea. Doseonsa Temple was built in 682 by the Buddhist monk Doseon. Doseon knew a lot about astronomy, geography and geometry and thought that a temple in this location would flourish. Learn about the best travel books on Korea to learn more about the palaces oof Korea.